Abu Dhabi wealth fund to acquire 15-per cent stake in Gatwick airport

The Abu Dhabi Investment Authority (ADIA), the world's largest sovereign wealth fund, is reportedly acquiring a nearly 15-per cent stake in Britain's Gatwick airport from its owner US-based investment fund Global Infrastructure Partners (GIP).

ADIA, believed to hold an estimated $500 billion -$700 billion in assets, is acquiring the stake for £125 million, according to a Sunday Times report yesterday.

This week, South Korea's state pension fund, the National Pension Service (NPS) was also planning to acquire a 12-per cent stake in Gatwick airport at a reported price of around £100 million. (See: South Korea's pension fund to acquire 12-per cent stake in Gatwick airport)

New York-based GIP, the $5.64-billion infrastructure fund promoted by Credit Suisse and General Electric  had acquired Gatwick Airport, Britain's second busiest airport from BAA in December for £1,455 million in an auction.

After acquiring Gatwick, GIP had said that it would sell minority stakes in Gatwick but retain controlling interest as part of realigning it investment portfolio.

When BAA had put Gatwick up for sale last year, AADIA was one of the potential buyer during the early part of the sale process, but later decided not to bid for Gatwick in the auction.

Gatwick is the UK's second largest airport and the world's busiest single runway airport.

The airport handles approximately 33 million passengers annually through two terminals. Gatwick primarily serves the leisure travel market and has around 80 airline customers which serve more than 200 destinations and are a mix of short- and long-haul scheduled, low cost and charter service providers.